End of the Quarter for Connie Saltonstall

Connie Saltonstall wrote a post over at Howie's place telling us why Bart Stupak should be ousted from Congress. Yes, he voted for health care in the end, but not before dragging woman's right through the mud with the help of the Catholic Bishops.

Mr. Stupak’s dogmatic insistence on inserting his own religious views into the legislative debate and threatening to deprive his constituents of needed healthcare reform eroded people’s trust in him. Throughout the debate there was the sense that our Congressman let us down and that sense has not disappeared with the change in his vote. For me and so many of his constituents, he crossed the line with his grandstanding.

Digby writes:

Howie Klein notes that today is the day you receive all those desperate emails for end-of-the-quarter donations from the Democratic party committees --- and that the money will almost certainly be spent on preserving the seats of Blue Dogs who vote against everything you care about. It's more than a little bit frustrating.

But there's something you can do about it. You can Send the Democrats A Message They Can Understand.

As I wrote yesterday, Stupak got punk'd by the lobbyist for the Catholic Bishops --- a Republican ally to such a degree that they were willing to deny millions of the working poor access to health care in order to help the GOPs cynical obstructionist agenda. Stupak was either too stupid to see it or too cynical himself to care. Either way, his behavior should not be rewarded.

Please feel free to donate any sum you can to Connie's campaign. She's showed real courage to try and take on a anti-choice incumbent Dem like Stupak. Good for her.



Blue America Welcomes North Carolina Secretary Of State Elaine Marshall

Blue America tends not to endorse in primary races between Democrats unless one is really excellent and one is clearly abysmal. This year we've taken stands against Blue Dogs Jane Harman, John Barrow and Lori Edwards and against anti-Choice fanatic Bart Stupak by endorsing, respectively, Marcy Winograd, Regina Thomas, Doug Tudor and Connie Saltonstall. But when it came to the North Carolina Senate race we were in a quandary. We really like the current Secretary of State, Elaine Marshall, but one of her primary opponents, Kenneth Lewis, is also an excellent choice. The conservative in the race, Cal Cunningham, currently trying to appeal to Democrats with a laughable and inauthentic feint to the left, is being pushed by Inside-the-Beltway powerbrokers, particularly Robert Menendez and the DSCC. We'd rather not interfere and just leave it up to North Carolina voters. But because of unfair DSCC campaign practices against Elaine we invited her over for a Blue America blogging session today at 6:30pm, EST/3:30, PT.

It's important to keep in mind that there's no incumbent in the country more in peril than Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina. Burr prides himself on being part of the lunatic right fringe-promising voters earlier this year:

“…it is impossible for any candidate to get to the right of me.”

Yesterday, with Burr pouting and playing games that jeopardize the well being-- and the security-- of every American, including conservative ones, Elaine Marshall suggested he grow up and do his job, when he walked out on an Armed Services Committee meeting just out of spite, using a foolish procedural measure to delay testimony from Adm. Robert Willard, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command; Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton, Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command; and Gen. Walter Sharpe, Army Commander of U.S. forces in Korea. These men have more on their minds than partisan petulance from half-wits like Richard Burr.

“Senator Burr and his Republican colleagues need to grow up,” said Marshall. “The health care vote is over, they lost and it’s time to move on to other business. This is one more example of how Washington needs people who will get things done, not people who will stand in the way.”

Burr is the alarmist idiot Senator who has taken millions from Wall Street banks only to proudly tell his wife to take all their money out when the stock market plummeted last year. Hence the nickname, “Bank Run” Burr. He’s up for re-election in November and finds himself with an approval rating of 35% in an anti-incumbent year and leading Elaine by a mere 41-36%, a number that can easily be evened out once the May 4th primary is settled.

I've spent some time following the race and talking with Elaine on the phone. She's feisty, progressive, and refreshing rather like the standard boxed Southern Conservadems we’re used too. Elaine is a populist and not only does she talk a good game, she’s spent a career taking on Wall Street fraud and risky business in the state legislature and as Secretary of State. In fact, her office released figures that she helped return over $130 million from Wall Street scams to the people of North Carolina just last year. "I don't have to promise you what I think can do. I can show you black and white, book and page, my accomplishments. I think that is going to be crucial in this election…”

America voted for change in 2008, and… a lot of people are unhappy because they aren’t seeing it. They look at Washington and they see a lot of politicians and business interests standing in the way of the change they voted for." Richard Burr is clearly one of those politicians.

North Carolina is a prime pick-up for both Democrats and progressives in 2010 and an opportunity we cannot pass up. The state has been trending blue, going for Obama and ousting their Republican Senator Liddy Dole last year; this is a winnable race. The Senate has been where good legislation goes to die this session and we need to elect more bold progressives to the chamber. Elaine is the candidate and she’ll be taking your questions in the comments section below.

Please consider contributing directly to her campaign here.



"Live Chat " Blue America PAC endorses Connie Saltonstall, Progressive Challenger To Bart Stupak

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(John Amato: Please donate to Connie at Blue America's 2010 act blue page here.)

From the 2008 Democratic Party Platform:

"The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.”

Considering that “strong and unequivocal” support it’s almost impossible to believe that a comprehensive health care reform bill passed with all Democratic votes and signed by a Democratic president would end up restricting access to abortion, isn’t it? Indeed, one would have assumed that any such bill would require coverage for abortion for all Americans. And yet, in one of the most naked acts of political opportunism we’ve seen in quite some time, a small minority of anti-choice Democrats in the congress have managed to force the pro-choice majority to make it difficult for women to obtain access to abortion coverage even if they pay for it with their own money. And no one is more responsible for this than the congressional representative from Michigan’s first district, Bart Stupak.

From the moment the administration announced that they were going ahead with health care reform this year, the anti-choice groups geared up prepared to stage a phony hissy fit the moment the details of any bill were announced. In what turns out to have been a useless compromise, pro-choice Democrats agreed to keep the status quo of the Hyde Amendment, (something that they had been fighting since its inception more than 30 years ago.) But that wasn’t good enough for Congressman Stupak who insisted on attaching his own amendment which further restricted access to abortion. With the generous help of the Republicans (who voted against the final House bill anyway) he got it passed. And that set the stage for Ben Nelson to run the same game in the Senate leading us to a ridiculous game of chicken in which Bart Stupak and his dwindling band of anti-choice zealots are what stands between America and the most ambitious plan to reform the health care system in decades. He simply doesn’t care about anything but his own narrow agenda.

One of his constituents, Connie Saltonstall, was appalled. She couldn’t believe that her congressman would actually vote against health care reform based upon the lie that the Nelson Amendment would force everyone to pay for abortions. She had personally heard him promise months ago that regardless of what happened with his amendment he would vote for health care reform, and now he said he was willing to let the bill die rather than budge from his dishonest and inexplicable position. She waited to see if anyone would step up to challenge this man and when no one did, she decided that she had no choice but to do it herself.

She says:

“Michigan and the First District are facing enormous challenges and we cannot afford to sacrifice solutions for individual agendas. Stupak is co-chair of the Pro-Life Caucus and is putting their interests above those of his district. No federal funds have been used for abortions since 1977, and that provision will stay in effect without his amendment. In my opinion, Bart Stupak has shown that he is willing to block important legislation to support his own agenda at the expense of those he was elected to represent.”

I had the opportunity to meet Ms Saltonstall last week and I was very impressed. She is a person of obvious intelligence, experience and personal charm. Just as important for Blue America, she is a stalwart progressive who knows what she believes and isn’t afraid to speak truth to power. And yes, she is a pro-choice woman who believes that everyone has a right to their religious beliefs but that no one has a right to deny the constitutional rights of others. She’s the real deal.

I asked her at some point in our chat how she could deal with the awful pressures and influences of national politics and she replied with a powerful comment. She told me that she had lost a beloved child some years back --- and once the worst has happened to you, nothing ever frightens you again.

I believed her absolutely. Those Villagers aren’t going to scare her one bit.

Blue America is proud to endorse Connie Saltonstall for the Democratic nomination in Michigan's 1st congressional district. Like the National Organization for Women and Democracy for America, which have likewise endorsed her in recent days, we believe that she represents the most important values of the Democratic party. If you'd care to donate to her campaign you can do so here.

Please help me welcome Connie Saltonstall to Blue America for her first online chat with the national netroots.




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